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Is love a feeling or a commitment?

Imagine my surprise a while ago when I was reading a discussion about the Lord of the Rings books, and suddenly the topic veered into the nature of love and marital fidelity (give it a minute to load before you start scrolling around that page, because it should jump to about halfway down automatically).  I think it's quite awesome to read that post and the two replies underneath it, because in my opinion it illuminates the stark contrast in thinking between people who will succeed at marriage, and those who will fail.

The initial post is rich with empathy for those that fail in their relationship:

People change. Feelings change. Circumstances change. To promise to love someone forever is not a realistic promise.

It's a common definition of love – something you feel, something you might stop feeling if your heart were to change.  It's a vision of love as a feather that can be blown by the wind, always landing softly.  It's cute, and a lot of people believe it... probably because Hollywood has foisted it upon us many times in many different movies and TV shows.

It's a flighty definition of love that is very convenient for the one taking flight.

However, that is countered by someone else who outlined a simple but powerful change in thinking:

Some of us believe that love is an action, not an emotion. As such, we don't necessarily believe such things are impossible to achieve.

That's the awesomeness, right there.  You want to know how to make your marriage last?  That's it.  Stop thinking that love is that feeling of butterflies in your tummy.  Stop thinking that love is that giddy feeling of attraction.  Start thinking that love is about respect, commitment, loyalty, and the deliberate choice to move past negative emotions that might pull things apart.  Love is not about fair weather relationships.  It's about weathering storms together.


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Comments (24)
Dianna writes:


Chapel writes:

I disagree...

Love is, and always will be a feeling. It is by nature a emotion. To define love by a choice of a lifestyle is compleatly off base... people may choose that they dont want to love someone anymore because they either want freedom or they just dont want to take the time to work at their relationships. But someone who does that either A. didn't love their spouse in the first place... or B. they're to lazy to take the time and work at their realationship. Yes i fully agree that there are many choices that you need to make when your 'in love.' for example: When you love someone you are said to put them before yourself. However when you choose to put another individual that you love, before yourself if you truely love someone you WANT to think of them, and put their wellbeing in front of your own. You dont have to, your not required to, but you CHOOSE to BECAUSE of the great FEELING of love that you have for that person.
Essentially Love is confusing and hard to understand. But when it comes down to it, it's a FEELING and an EMOTION that is always surrounded with tough, questions and choices.

Gundam writes:

Chapel, what you are saying is just FEELING will lead to LOVE, however it is not necessary.

FEELING is just feeling, not more or less. It is like angry (a feeling), angry might lead to HATE (opposite to LOVE) however not necessary.

caz writes:

love is thats just it love is
its when your up there on the tallest moutain looking down on everyone else you stay there,
but if you fall you fall right there is no going back,
you lose everything that you have worked for!

just dont fall

Angie writes:

I agree that Love is not a feeling. I believe the deep feelings that we as humans experience enable us to love much easier. However, love should not be based on how easy it is to love someone. If you can fall in love with someone, and if it is based on feelings then one can say they can fall out of love with someone too. One of you wrote that it is either that one didn't love the person in the first place or that one is lazy and will not work on the relationship. I pitty the person who is so blind in emotion that they BELIEVE with all there heart that they love someone and are willing to commit their life to them, just to be disappointed when they no longer bask in the waves of emotions and attraction. And actually believe, i must of just never of been in love? They have been fooled twice it would seem. We are held a lot more responsible, and i hope we are not that selfish as humans to only be seeking to get our emotional needs met instead of learning that love is to be selfless, regardless of how we feel. Anyone can put someone before themselves when they FEEL like doing it. But how about when the person fails us in someway- or lets us down, how about when we just are not that physically attracted to them. Should be take away our promise to love unconditionally, and start being conditional, we love and do when this person loves and does xyz.. There is emotional love and genuine love. put it this way- what about after 30 years of marriage, after seeing every true weakness that ones significant other holds, to watch them gain weight and loose the looks they once had, smell there awful breath in the morning, forget to pay the bills, mess up an important vacation trips, loose their sex drive or loose their jobs and which leads to money problems.. whatever it could be- to believe that some euphoric feeling will remain is this idea that our generation is banking on when it comes to love and marriage. If love is a feeling then why (since i have asked them) do arranged marriages work. They learn to Love that person, respecting them, appreciating them for their qualities and not for how they make them feel. Building up their strengths instead of pointing out the weaknesses that do not suit them. love can be enabled by such strong passionate feelings but at the end of the day its a choice to love them passed and through it! It's a choice to care more about them with no held expectations on their end. Anyone can seek their own fulfillment when things are not going right, but it is the wise that realize that the battle can be won through our will to love and not our fickle feelings!

Terrence J writes:

I disagree that love is a feeling because feelings change from day to day. For example: I could feel like going to work today, but tomorrow I may feel like not going to work. If love was a feeling we would fall in love all the time with someone new and different. I may not feel like loving my spouse or significant other today, but I may feel like loving someone else. Love is a commitment and it is a bond two people make to weather any storm that may arise and work through problems. It is also respecting and appreciating the person in your life. I do think many people do not have an understanding of what commitment means if they did they would understand what love means.

R writes:


Em writes:

I believe that love is a feeling. It is absolutely true that one can fall in and out of love as so many failed marriages have given an example. But going with the feeling of love you also must have a commitment, because there will be days when you don't exactly agree with your partner and there are days when you argue over pointless thing. You became commited to this person because you loved them and that is why you choose to stay with them and see the days when you disagree through.

kutitap writes:

these kind of love posted before mine... i have been through it all and sad to say i still don't know what love actually is. . . i have done crazy and unbelievable things and thinking that i was truly deeply madly in love.... but in the end the feeling is gone....

Words are something you are apparently good with as seen in this article. I think you have a lot of great wisdom on this subject. I like your writing style.

Anonymous writes:

Love isn't either, its a bond. We fall in love because of emotions but love isn't simply an emotion nor is it simply a commitment. You dont love someone because you are committed to them you are committed to them because you share a bond with them that nobody can replace because nobody has been through the shit that you and the person you love have been through. Emotions are important in love just as commitment is, we cant always rely on emotions but that doesn't mean they arent there. If you love someone there will be an emotional attachment, even if you dont literally feel them all the time, but love isn't just an obligation. You commit because you love because of this all powerful bond,that few people understand.

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wedanneptelty writes:

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DXB Rashid writes:

:( all what are you saying is nice but when will I be loved !

It's pointless to define love without living it :(

DW writes:

For those who know what Love is and what it is not, it is a bond. It is virtually impossible to expect this from a significant other, simply because of the intimiate issues involved, and how quickly and subtly those issues can and do go south.

The bond created by a father to his children is created from even before the birth of the children in question. It develops through respect, discipline, and caring on the children's end, and for the father, it develops from the role of a fierce protector, a gentle nurturer, and the safety that comes in their arms for their children.

Whatever it is from the perspective of men and women, it never develops with the strength and unbreakability of that of parents and children. It can, in fact, change from love to resentment to hatred, which believe me, is confusing... when you feel as though you love someone so much you'd die for them and hate them so much you could kill them with your bare hands, that is not something that happens with children and parents, at least not usually. Sure there are some parents that should never have had the ability to be parents because they are pieces of self centered trash, but I digress.

People change, circumstances change, some things are simply unforgivable, and the expectation of forgiveness in the face of betrayal is unreasonable.

Sad part is, without a man and a woman, children are never born. The aspect of parenthood is denied by nature if you refuse to be with others, and dare to "love" them.

This is my opinion on the subject. Your mileage may vary, but I have come to my own conclusion that relationships simply are not for me. A person betrayed enough finds no use for it. I have seen this 6 times, 2 of which ended marriages, and I don't believe in love.

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